Three suspects facing conspiracy charges in connection with the 2002 bombing of an Israeli-owned hotel on Kenya's coast and an attempted downing of an Israeli aircraft were acquitted Monday..

Nairobi Chief Magistrate Aggrey Muchelule told the court prosecutors had failed to prove that the three Kenyan men were involved in the November 2002 suicide car bombing of the Paradise Hotel near the port city of Mombasa.

Likewise, said the chief magistrate, there was insufficient evidence linking the three to an attempt to shoot down an Israeli aircraft in the area.

Monday's acquittal follows a trial earlier this month in which four other suspects were similarly acquitted of murder charges in connection with the blast.

Defense lawyer Maobe Mao tells VOA that he feels "relieved and happy" that the trial of the seven men is over, and that his clients will be seeking redress for the suffering they have undergone.

"Now we will go ahead and file proceedings of a civil nature in order to get damages or compensation for these men," he said. "Their lives have been disrupted, and if [the] government had sought to get an honest professional opinion, they would have known these men were not in any way involved."

The al-Qaida network had claimed responsibility for the attack on the Paradise Hotel in which 15 people were killed.

Throughout the trial, prosecutors had maintained that there was sufficient evidence to convict the suspects.

Human rights groups had blasted the government for the lengthy trial and detaining the suspects for more than two years.